Each year, Oxford University Press chooses a word or expression that has reflected the last 12 months and has potential to have lasting cultural significance or provides a snapshot into history. And this year’s word is…
Do you have rizz and you didn’t know it?
Oxford University Press, the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, has named “rizz” the Word of the Year for 2023.
Rizz, a widely used word online, is defined as style, charm or attractiveness, or one’s ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.
The word is believed to be a shortened form of the word charisma, taken from the middle part of the word. Rizz can also be used as a verb: to “rizz up” means to attract, seduce or chat up a person.
“Rizz was chosen by the language experts at OUP as an interesting example of how language can be formed, shaped, and shared within communities, before being picked up more widely,” Oxford University Press (OUP) said in a release. “It speaks to how younger generations create spaces - online or in person – where they own and define the language they use.”
OUP said it’s likely that more words derived from social media and internet culture will be used in everyday language over time.
“The spike in usage data for rizz goes to prove that words and phrases that evolve from internet culture are increasingly becoming part of day-to-day vernacular and will continue to shape language trends in the future,” Oxford Languages President Casper Grathwohl said in a statement.
OUP said the word reached its peak popularity in June of this year after actor Tom Holland was asked in a Buzzfeed interview about his rizz, to which he said he had “no rizz whatsoever.”
Members of the public voted on social media to narrow down the shortlist of words chosen by the experts. This year’s picks included rizz, Swiftie, beige flag, prompt, heat dome, de-influencing, situationship and parasocial.
“It has been incredible to see the public once again enjoying being a part of the Word of the Year selection,” Grathwohl’s statement said. “Witnessing thousands of people debate and discuss language like this really highlights the power it has in helping us to understand who we are, and process what’s happening to the world around us.”
Last year’s Oxford Word of the Year was “goblin mode“, another slang term describing “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” behaviour.
In November, the makers of Collins Dictionary revealed their word of 2023 as “artificial intelligence”. US publishing company Merriam-Webster have elected their Word of the Year for 2023 as “authentic.”